Real Madrid coach Juande Ramos has insisted the reigning Spanish champions Real Madrid can bounce back, despite being 12 points adrift of leaders Barcelona after their weekend loss to the Catalan giants.
"I am totally convinced that we can recover the 12 points," Ramos said in an interview published in sports daily AS, two days after Real's 2-0 loss at Camp Nou in his first league match since taking over last week. "We will not give up on anything. My formula is clear. We are going to win, win, win, without thinking about Barcelona."
The former Tottenham Hotspur manager believes Real will be more competitive in January, when they have new signings and key players return from injury. "Clearly we want a right winger and a central midfielder. The club is working to find them and I hope they arrive soon," he said.
"I want players of quality and desire who are ready to play. I have only been working here a week, but I can say that injuries have already had an effect on the backbone of the team." Pepe, Gabriel Heinze, Mahamadou Diarra, Arjen Robben and Ruud van Nistelrooy are among the Real players currently sidelined.
Ramos started his term as coach at Real with a 3-0 win over Zenit in their final Group H game in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. Spanish media, however, said it would take a "miracle" for Real to catch up to an in-form Barcelona side, who are eight points ahead of their nearest rivals Valencia.
Real will face Valencia at home on Saturday, in their last match before the winter break. In preparation for the contest, Ramos has scheduled two daily training sessions - in the morning and the afternoon. His German predecessor Bernd Schuster had only held one training session per day this season.
Both Barcelona and Real have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, and await the draw on 19 December.